Why are America's traffic deaths rising so fast?

The report released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that 26,000 people died in traffic related incidents in the first three quarters of 2015, which is up from 23,796 deaths in the same span of 2014. The first quarter of 2015 was the highest year-over-year increase since 2012, so what’s the deal?

Well, the NHTSA also concluded that American drivers tallied over 80 billion more miles collectively in the first nine months of 2015 over the previous year, suggesting that more activity due to an increase in car sales and a decrease in gas prices lead to an increase in traffic deaths, despite advances in safety technologies. Americans are driving more, and subsequently crashing more.

The number of deaths per every million miles, which is the tally measured by the NHTSA, increased from 1.05 deaths per million miles in 2014 (the lowest ever) to 1.10 deaths per million miles in 2015. While that is still one of the lowest ratios ever recorded, it showed a 3-to-1 disparity between the increase in traffic deaths and the increase in miles driven, as pointed out by Autoblog. They also pointed out that, if the increased rate continues into the final quarter of 2015, it will be the largest year-to-year spike since 1946.